Some years ago, I received a strong recommendation to try a kriek - "it is unlike any beer you will have ever tasted". And boy, were they correct.
Kriek is a sour-cherry flavoured beer, brewed in a special manner called lambic. A typical mix of wheat, hops, water and malt is exposed to wild yeasts and bacteria (sounds almost medicinal), fermented rapidly, with sour cherries added after the fermentation.
Opening the bottle results in a truly pungent wet earth odour (more odour than aroma!), pouring as a deep red drink where the head disappears almost immediately (more like champagne than beer). The taste is not beer-like at all - a tart, dry flavour with a slight touch of bubbles and a biting sourness somewhere between cranberry and lemon juice, but closer to lemon. The mouth tends to shrivel at the reminder of the taste and even has a similarity to cider.
For me, I could never manage more than one but it was a surprisingly enjoyable and palate cleansing. It is an appreciated taste among proud Belgian beer drinkers. The brewing technique is treasured and limited to a tiny pocket of Belgium. My description is probably unjust but it is a unique taste experience and worth seeking out as a drink around the world should you wander through .
At the start of every month, Travel Wonders highlights a characteristic drink experienced on his travel. Only two previous beers have featured in this series: the Belgian classic monastery beer, Chimay and the most northern beer in the world (Mack Pilsner).
Photo Credit: kriek